Electricity restored in Soudan laboratory

On Saturday, April 16, electricians installed a new power cable in the lower part of the Soudan mine shaft and restored full electric power to the Soudan Underground Laboratory, located a half mile underground in northern Minnesota. The laboratory only had limited power after a fire occurred in the mine’s access shaft in March (see this website). The laboratory, which is managed by the University of Minnesota, houses two large particle physics experiments, MINOS and CDMS.

With power fully restored, Soudan laboratory management is preparing for a general cleanup of the laboratory to remove the debris that was brought in by fire-fighting foam that covered parts of the MINOS and CDMS caverns. Repairs continue in the access shaft of the mine. In March, first inspections of the MINOS and CDMS experiments had revealed no significant damage (see Fermilab Today, March 31, 2011.

“This week, work in the underground laboratory will focus on finishing the assessment of the MINOS detector, beginning with checks of control-system electronics and drying out the cables of the magnet coil,” said Dan Bauer, Fermilab operations manager for experiments at Soudan. “We will also conduct final tests of the CDMS electronics.”

With the heating and air-conditioning system back on, Bauer expects the laboratory to return to normal temperature and humidity levels within a couple of days.

–Kurt Riesselmann